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The negative impact the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on the hotel industry is comparable to a combination of the lasting effects of 9/11 and the financial crisis of 2008, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) President and CEO Chip Rogers said Thursday.
In an interview on "America's Newsroom" with hosts Sandra Smith and Ed Henry, Rogers said that while he could assure that any money coming in from Washington D.C. would go to employees and not just executives, the economic impact on hotels is "as bad as we have ever seen it."
"If that money comes in – and we are certainly hoping it comes in to the employees – that would be the only revenue coming in," he noted.
"So, if you take what happened right after 9/11 and you take what happened right after the financial crisis, which were both significant hits to the industry, if you combine those and probably doubled it, you may still not be at the point where we are now," he explained. "We have seen occupancy rates fall from last month at about 67 percent all the way down to the single digits."
"So, the bottom line is this: people aren't in hotels. There's no revenue for the hotels. And, consequently, most of them are shutting their doors," he stated.
Rogers said the federal government needs to both work as quickly as possible to get people back to enjoying their lives and take care of the millions of workers as they manage this crisis.
"There [are] 8.3 million [workers] in our industry. We expect, by the end of the year, half of them may be laid off. How are we going to take care of them?" he asked.
"We would love for them to be able to stay on the payrolls as furloughed workers so they can have access to some of their benefits. And, if federal government, who has been part of shutting all this down – rightfully so – can help us out with this, that money will go to the workers," Rogers told the "Newsroom" hosts.
"All we are trying to do is get money to those who need it [who] work in the industry, and to help keep those businesses to stay in business so that there is a job they can come back to," he concluded.